On the wire – politics, banking, digital citizenship, wikipedia and more

Turkey vs Twitter – Draconian measure to silence the scandal

Keywords; Politics, Government, social media, security, twitter, democracy, freedom of speech


The future on NZ banking + Video

Keywords: Business, employment, commerce, ATM, Bitcoins, banking


Who determines the value of a sources?

Keywords: Education, digital citizenship, validity, wikipedia, opinion piece, literacy


IT goes DIY – the sidelining of the IT department

Keywords: Business, employment, BYOD, tablet, Cloud computing, teleworking


Ray ban and oakley frames for google glass

Keywords – home leisure, wearable, convergence, smart technologies


Anonymity apps on the rise

Keywords: privacy, anonymity, business, security, digital citizenship


NZ Cyber law change articles

Keywords: Digital Citizenship, safety, cybersafety, politics, government, legal

1. Judges warn cyber-bully law may flood the courts


2. Microsoft opposes cyber law channge


Smartphone overuse may ‘damage’ eyes

Keywords: Smartphone, health, safety, damage, over-use, digital citizenship
Opticians say people are so addicted to things like smart phones there’s increasing risk of damaging their eyes.


Preschoolers health put at risk

keywords: preschool, education, digital citizenship, technology, health


Digital Citizenship

As a frequent presenter and speaker on digital citizenship, I feel it is critical to presented a balanced and considered perspective.

Its easy, particularly when presented with a captive audience, to place undue emphasis on the darker side of out digital lives. The media abounds with horror stories and tragedies, of mis-adventure and mis-direction, crime and punishment, but this is what sells papers and magazines and attracts readers/viewers. Seldom do you see the predominant reality of our digital world, people getting on with their day to day activities, be these business or leisure.

Standing up and preaching about the dangers and risks is easy, often captivating and grabs attention. Its simple to find the latest disasters and use these to highlight the pitfalls and traps that are present. Shock and awe does make for a good presentation, but to focus on the negative or exaggerate the risks is to lose the opportunity for learning. You don’t want to see teachers, parents or others in a fit of fervor banning all technology use because of perceived risks and dangers.

Its critical that we provide a balanced perspective and provide mechanisms and processes that provide guidance and support. Short term solutions like blocking, banning etc are ignoring the underlying issues of digital citizenship. While they will stop or limit the incidence or occurrence of  either inappropriate action or damage, they do little to prepare people for a world beyond the walled garden we have created.

It is only by changing behaviours and understanding, that real change can be made. It is only by changing these that we can make a sustained, hopefully life long, difference.

Rules don’t work

Too many people have fallen in to the trap of setting rules in an attempt to provide a safe environment. Definitive statements have a very limited life expectancy, they are often out of date before they are written. The rapid evolution of the web, of social media and technology means that statements specify medium or technologies are soon obsolete.

However, behaviors and actions are timeless. Change and adapt these and you provide a safe foundation for activity, learning and recreation in a dynamic world.

Want some Ideas on these? http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/The+Digital+Citizen

and http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Digital+Citizen+AUA

Apple iWork Keynote “how to” Video – add and edit text

I have made another training/how-to video for Apple iWork Keynote 6.0. This one looks at Adding and editing text using the format inspector within Keynote.

7 things you should know update….

Educause publishes a series of useful resources for administrators and teachers. Here are their latest offerings:

These resources are slightly older but are very useful for teaching IT theory or providing accessible PL resources for teachers

Examination time

Its that time of the year again when staff and schools roll out examinations as a way of assessing the students learning. Examinations are a useful tool in summative assessment, but of course they are not the only tool in the tool kit.

I have been thinking about the advice I give to staff about examinations to support them in making these assessments as useful and beneficial as possible.

My first question would be “do you need an examination? are there better ways of assessing the learning and development of the student?” the answer is invariably yes to both questions. Often we are required to use examination as a tool of assessment and yes there may be better ways but this is one of the ways we have been told to use.

The next piece of advice is this…

Write the examination and the mark scheme simultaneously.

To often we write a question and discover after its gone to print that its unanswerable, beyond the scope of learning, too simple, too hard or is not identifying the aspect of learning we wanted it to. If you can’t write the answer as you develop the question how are your students meant to.

Do my marking descriptors allow the students to achieve or have I written them in such a way to mean a student can only achieve in one way? Am I limiting the students to a low grade by the criteria I have written, is it a “they ahve to do this and this and this and this and this…..” and if they miss out on one point they have failed even if they show higher level understanding.

Does the question allow the student to show depth and extent of learning?

This obviously does not apply to multi-choice or bubble test questions, but does the question allow the student to demonstrate their depth and breadth of understanding to show a progression from…

Identify –> Outline –> Describe –> Explain –> Analyse –> Evaluate

Am I expecting the students to be multi-lingual?

Do my students have to understand two languages – the language of assessment and the language of my subject. How many of my students are lost before they have started because they do not understand the language of assessment.

If I was to ask what is the difference between describe and explain would they know? My students are provided with definitions of the assessment terms on the cover of their examination –

  • Outline – give a brief account;
  • Describe – give a detailed account;  
  • Explain – give a detailed account including causes, reasons or mechanisms.
  • and so on

Are the questions structured and balanced?

is there an appropriate balance between lower order thinking and higher order thinking in the number of questions.

Lower order command terms Higher order command terms
state, list, outline, describe, explain, annotate, define, calculate evaluate, analyse, judge, critique, compare, contrast, formulate, construct, discuss, justify, to what extent

I ask my colleagues to proof my examination.
I ask them to please ask these questions as they are working through the examinations.
•    Does it make sense?
•    Does it suit the audience?
•    Does it flow from lower order to higher order questions? from topic to topic?
•    What is the purpose of the task, question or instruction? Does it show the learning outcomes?
•    Does the weighting match the complexity of the task?
•    Is it achievable? allow the students to show excellence?
•    Is the examination manageable and realistic for the time frame?
•   Is the coverage of the examination suitable in terms of the students learning


Saving the world, Conservation and outdoor education

Source: http://travelblog.portfoliocollection.com/FeaturedImage/BBC-Africa1.jpg

The kids have just finished watching the final episode of the Brilliant BBC series Africa, hosted and narrated by David Attenborough. As we watch the last part of the last episode, Attenborough made a point about the importance of the wild places and the need for these to sustain the planet.

The series was predictably brilliant, and for those schools in New Zealand who subscribe to screenrights, you can record and use this legally in our classes.

But the point that Attenborough makes about the importance of preserving the wild places and their vital role in powering the planet is important, but unless you experience “the wild” then often this is a concept with out support and or experience. To be able to understand the beauty, scale, size, variety and critically importance of these wild places can only be touched on by documentaries like Africa. That is not to decry the brilliant cinematography, stunning vistas and awe inspiring settings. But the wild is not just visual, it is not just sound it is a holistic experience.

To gain an appreciation of the diversity and complexity of the outdoors, of the wild places, it is best to experience them, even if it is in a limited setting.

I am fortunate that my school takes all of our students out for an Outdoor education week, and we run outdoor education as a subject at senior levels. It encourages adventure sports, promotes the brilliant duke of Edinburgh scheme and happily supports the Roots and Shoots club based on the work by another legendary figure in Biology, Jane Goodall.  Outdoor education is a medium for understanding, experience and developing a passion for the wilder places, and the need to conserve them for not just our future generations but for our very survival.

Outdoor education as a subject, and as an event is potentially one of the keys to our survival.

 Screenrights – http://www.screenrights.org/content-users/new-zealand-services

On the wire – Digital citizen update

On the wire today we have a focus on digital citizenship, and a little on a global project


1. Facebook privacy settings http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/facebooks-privacy-settings-a-complete-guide/

This week seems to have had a number of digital citizenship articles in the various online news sites that I subscribe to:

So its appropriate to look at some advice from Make use of http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/facebooks-privacy-settings-a-complete-guide/ and stuff’s how to avoid internet fraud – http://t.co/BqMnvKKw

2. Unfortunate truth about child pornography and the internet http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/unfortunate-truths-about-child-pornography-and-the-internet-feature/

Another interesting feature on make use of. Its disturbing and at times alarming, but there is a need for awareness and balanced responce. Also check out the article from the university of new hampshire – http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV269_Child%20Porn%20Possession%20Bulletin_4-13-12.pdf

3. 8 Good tech habits to adopt right nowhttp://mashable.com/2013/01/08/good-tech-habits/

This is in a slightly lighter vein, but is offering good solid advice that would save most people a degree of heart ache and stress – especially the back up you device regularly part.

4. 1 face watch fundraising  http://1facewatch.com/

I like this site, select the cause you want to support, buy the watch that suits you while making a difference. Check out how much of a difference you have made and the different causes which include:

  • AIDS – keep a child alive
  • HUNGER – one days wages
  • CANCER – the american cancer society
  • ENVIRONMENT – the adventure project
  • WATER – charity water
  • BREAST CANCER – National breast cancer

Source: http://1facewatch.com/skin/frontend/default/oneface/images/metrics.gif



On the wire – Tineye labs, 3d Printers, Cambridge Digital Library and more

Its been a while since I have had the time to pen an on the wire update, but here is one.

1. TinEye Labshttp://labs.tineye.com/

This is a search engine with a difference, this one is based on colour. The search feature allows you to select a colour and then search through Flickr for creative commons images that match this colour. There is also TinEye which is the reverse search engine that allows you to search by inputting an image.

2. The Flynn effecthttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Are-You-Smarter-Than-Your-Grandfather-Probably-Not-181842991.html

The Flynn effect is a discovery by a NZ scientist in the 1980’s that Human intelligence in the developed world increases by about 3 points every 10 years. Average human intelligence is meant to be 100. This is an interesting discussion on this phenomena.

3.Is artificial intelligence a threat to humanity? http://www.3news.co.nz/Is-artificial-intelligence-a-threat-to-humanity/tabid/1160/articleID/278117/Default.aspx

This is an interesting opinion piece syndicated on to New Zealand’s TV3 News. worth a read as we see the speed at which artificial intelligence is progressing

4. 3D Printing  – educause – 7 things you shoould know about 3D printing http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/7-things-you-should-know-about-3d-printing

If you are not familiar with this series of resources, they are a great and balanced perspective on the impact of a tech nology on education (its focused on higher education). Each paper asks seven questions:

  1. What is it?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Who’s doing it?
  4. Why is it signficant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for higher education?

This one is looking at 3D printing and benefits and downsides. No long ago you were looking at 3D printers costing in the thousands of dollars, but now you can pick them up for under AU$1000 and if you look to the US there are lots available – http://www.3ders.org/pricecompare/3dprinters/ This is an amazing development and I would imagine that the price will come down a little more. Unlike printer ink, the plastic for the these tools is probably more easily obtained, so companies will be hard pressed to maintain there monopoly and there for extortionate cost on the consumables. What a great opportunity for students to work right through the creative and development process – Solution Fluency

For those with an endless budget, check this out – Buildatron – http://buildatron.com/

5. Cambridge Digital Libraryhttp://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/

This is an amazing and fascinating site to visit. It holds, in digital format, an array of books, manuscripts and works from various religions, authors and scientists.

Follow me on Twitter?

Facebook – new poke application

The new facebook poke app raises a concern or two for me in regards to appropriate use. The app which is essentially facebook’s version of snapchat allows the user to do a number of interesting things.

Here is what they say about it in the 12 December news release

With the Poke app, you can poke or send a message, photo, or video to Facebook friends to share what you’re up to in a lightweight way. You can poke an individual friend or several at once. Each message expires after a specific time you’ve set, either 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds. When time runs out, the message disappears from the app. ” source: http://newsroom.fb.com/News/559/Introducing-Poke-for-Mobile

So you can set a message that is only visible for a short space of time and then deletes. The message could be text, image or video. but wait there is more facebook will only hold the message and the encryption keys for the message for 2 days (source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/22/your-facebook-pokes-are-stored-for-two-days-then-their-encryption-keys-are-deleted/)

When working with students we ask them, if they are being repeatedly bullied to:

  • Talk with a trusted adult – be it the school Councillor, teacher etc
  • not delete the messages and hold them as evidence

Now they have a message that will appear for upto 10 seconds and then disappear/deleted, even the most tech savvy user is going to struggle to take a screen grab in that time. What’s more there is a 48 hour window to get facebook to recover the the poke. If you have ever tried to get facebook to do anything it is usually more than 48 hours.

Am I concerned, yes – this is a tool for the cyber bully.

I know concerns have been raised to about snapchat as a tool of choice in sexting. Does facebook really need to match it? They ahve attempted to match some of the terms and conditions of snapchat “When you send or receive messages using the Snapchat services, we temporarily process and store your images and videos in order to provide our services… we attempt to delete image data as soon as possible after the message is transmitted.” (Source: http://www.snapchat.com/# click on terms at the bottom of the page)


Well, what would I say to my students about this application?

  1. Don’t use it – this is suspect will fall on deaf ears but, it may raise some awareness
  2. if its abusive or inappropriate, unfriend the sender or is you are struggling to see who it is uninstall the app
  3. If its serious and/or persistent, talk to a trusted adult and move with speed to report the issue to facebook – Facebook – report a violation – http://www.facebook.com/help/263149623790594/

Resources and links:








Facebook – report a violation – http://www.facebook.com/help/263149623790594/

Digital citizenship resources – http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Digital+Citizen+AUA

Follow me on Twitter - @achurches

Follow me on Twitter – @achurches


Starter Sheet – Corocdoc – formative assessment

This starter sheets is looking at the online service Crocodoc which allows the users to upload, share and annotate document. The documents can then be downloaded in the mark-up format or in the original format.

This service supports PDF and Microsoft office files. This is a useful way of collating student work sharing  exemplars and adding comments and drawing with out modifying the original document.

starter sheet – crocodoc formative assessment

Other Starter sheets are available at http://edorigami.wikispaces.com

Educational origami wiki